When tourists first started coming to the Alps in the 1700 and 1800’s, their travels, known as “The Grand Tour”, were always first class and included stops in Europe’s most well-known destinations. We’ve recreated that experience here with visits to three of the most classic alpine destinations. In Grand Tour style, you’ll stay in absolute comfort in distinctive, luxurious hotels, including the stunning 5-star Riffelalp Resort – the best accomodations each area has to offer – and travel by 1st class rail along the Glacier Express between Zermatt and Pontresina. World-class hotels, scenic train rides, and memorable villages make this tour a great choice for non-hiking spouses and friends who would prefer to spend time relaxing while others hike.
Your tour starts in Mürren, a gorgeous car-free village perched dramatically atop a cliff overlooking the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. You then continue on to Zermatt, a hiker’s paradise, nestled beneath the incomparable Matterhorn. Finally, the famous Glacier Express train takes you on a scenic cross-country journey to Pontresina, the serene jewel of the St. Moritz lakes region. All three areas contain numerous unforgettable hikes and vistas that make this tour grand in every sense! Our 8-day tour includes 3 nights in Murren, 2 in Pontresina and 2 in Zermatt, while the 11-day tour stays 4 nights in Murren, 3 in Pontresina and 3 in Zermatt.
Your typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel – a feast of freshly baked bread and croissants, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, eggs made to order, coffee and freshly squeezed juice – which gives you the energy needed for the day ahead. Before setting out on your hike, visit a bakery and market for lunch supplies, or bring some money for a stop in one of the alpine restaurants along your route. Soon, you’ll be out on the trail for the day, with longer and shorter hiking options to choose from, and some of the world’s greatest scenery to explore.
You should finish your hike around 4 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax at the hotel, visit the pool and spa, or perhaps do a bit of shopping in town. All of our hotels on this tour have great views and gorgeous pool and spa areas, so you should look forward to having time each day to enjoy those. Later, enjoy dinner at your hotel’s restaurant. These are true gourmet, multi-course feasts, sometimes centered on local specialties, prepared by some of the finest chefs in the Alps. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and our dinners will be exquisite, memorable affairs. Typically we leave one dinner in Zermatt free, so you will have a chance to explore on your own.
Mürren – The Grand Tour starts with arrival in Zürich and a train ride to Mürren, our home away from home in Switzerland. The trip takes just over 3 hours.
Mürren - One of our favorite hikes starts in town, and gently meanders up the hills to the pastoral fields and alp barns at Spielboden.
Mürren - The Upper Lauterbrunnen valley curls back beneath the white-capped Breithorn – considered by many to be the most perfect mountain in the region.
Zermatt - Take the train in the morning, 3.5 hrs to Zermatt, the car-free mountain village at the base of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and many other 4000 meter peaks.
Zermatt – Taking quiet trails through fields and forest, you have a range of choices up to the wide ridge of Gornergrat, past marmots and small glacial lakes, to what has to be one of the finest viewpoints in Europe.
Pontresina – After breakfast, you’ll say good-bye to the Matterhorn and board the famous Glacier Express train for Pontresina, a mellow and pretty resort town on the eastern edge of Switzerland.
Pontresina - From Pontresina, one of our favorite hikes anywhere is the panoramic Muragl traverse above Pontresina.
depart – After breakfast at our hotel, say good-bye to the Engadine region and depart for your post-trip destinations.